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Danbury Food Editor Organizes Bake Sale To Fight Kids' Cancer

Denise Mickelsen of Danbury, a senior editor at Fine Cooking magazine, makes cookies for the Cookies for Kids Cancer bake sale. Photo Credit: Chris Hoelck
Denise Mickelsen of Danbury is a senior editor at Fine Cooking magazine. Photo Credit: Fine Cooking

DANBURY, Conn. -- After two children in her life were diagnosed with pediatric cancers, Denise Mickelsen of Danbury decided it was time to act. 

Mickelsen, a senior editor at Fine Cooking magazine, combined her desire to help with her passion for food to plan a bake sale to benefit Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

It will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at Danbury Square at 15 Backus Ave., next to the Danbury Fair Mall.

"I first heard about Cookies for Kids’ Cancer a few years ago when I met Gretchen Holt, the charity’s founder, through my work at Fine Cooking," Mickelsen said. "But more recently, my cousin’s little girl, Emma, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at just 18 months old. She went through four rounds of chemo and almost died twice.

"Then, my high school friend’s son, Ben, only 4 years old, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. It was just too much to bear, and I realized that I had to do something to help," she said. "I couldn’t make Emma and Ben better, but I could bake cookies! So, I decided to hold the biggest Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale that I could."

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to funding the development of less toxic, more effective treatments for children battling cancer, the No. 1 disease killer of children in the United States. 

"It’s a wonderful organization, and they make it so easy for regular people, like me, to organize an event to help these sick kids, whether it’s a bake sale, a penny drive, a 5K, a Mommy’s Night Out," she said. "They give you the tools and resources you need to pull it off. Plus, since the charity started in 2007, they’ve raised over $4 million and funded nine new treatments for pediatric cancer. They’re making a difference for kids with cancer every single day, and I find that incredibly inspiring."

Her goal is to raise $5,000, and Mickelsen is reaching out for help with the baking. 

"We have treats coming from Portland, Ore.; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Minneapolis, Minn.," said Mickelsen, who reached out to her network of chef friends. "And all of the Fine Cooking editors are baking for the event, too, as well as many of the good people who work for The Taunton Press."

In addition to her employer, The Taunton Press in Newtown, local sponsors include Archer Experts in Woodbury, as well as Trader Joe’s, Stop & Shop, and All Season Party Rentals in Danbury. Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc., landlords of Danbury Square, are allowing the use of its property for the bake sale.

More baked goods and supplies are needed, as well as volunteers. Anyone interested in participating is asked to contact Denise Mickelsen at 646-373-5005 or Monetary donations can also be made online. Learn more about Emma Shaffer and Ben Sauer, in whose honor the sale is being held, on the bake sale's Facebook community page.

Brochures about Cookies for Kids Cancer will be on hand at the bake sale, and you can learn more at

"Every single dollar raised at our bake sale will go directly to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which then uses those funds to support grants and matching programs for pediatric cancer research," Mickelsen said.

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